A quiet, peaceful, nature-loving boy, Leper shocks his classmates by becoming the first boy at Devon to enlist in the army; he shocks them again by deserting soon after. Both of Leper’s decisions demonstrate important properties of the war: to the students at Devon, it constitutes a great unknown, overshadowing their high school years and rendering their actions mere preparations for a dark future. Leper’s decision to enlist stems from his inability to bear the prolonged waiting period, his desire simply to initiate what he knows to be inevitable. Later, his desertion of the army again demonstrates a horrible truth: despite their years of expectation, the boys can never really be ready to face the atrocities of war.
Leper’s descriptions of his wartime hallucinations constitute one of the novel’s darkest moments. He proceeds to outline to Gene, with terrifying detail, the hallucinations that he suffered in the army, disproving Gene’s belief that he, Leper, cannot possibly descend into bitterness or angry flashbacks when walking through his beloved, beautiful outdoors. This tension emphasizes the contrast between the loveliness of the natural world and the hideousness of the characters’ inner lives. Most of Leper’s visions involve transformations of some kind, such as men turning into women and the arms of chairs turning into human arms. In a sense, then, Leper’s hallucinations reflect the fears and angst of adolescence, in which the transformation of boys into men—and, in wartime, of boys into soldiers—causes anxiety and inner turmoil.
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Gene’s Transformation throughout "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles
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In the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the main character, Gene, transforms from a clueless individual, to one who understands events by the middle of the novel, when he starts to gain knowledge. By the end of the novel, Gene is a wise individual who has obtained his knowledge with age.
In the beginning of the novel, Gene, is a clueless individual. He sees the worst in people and lets his evil side take over not only his mind but also his body. During the tree scene, Gene convinces himself that Finny isn’t his friend, tricking himself into thinking that Finny is a conniving foil that wants to sabotage his academic merit. Gene is furthermore deluded that every time Finny invites Gene somewhere it’s to keep him from studying and…show more content…
This is the tree scene where Gene thoughtlessly makes Finny fall. It’s done after a build-up of anger. Finally, it was a way for Gene to blow off steam for the moment before thinking of consequences afterward, such as Finny shattering his leg.
In the middle of the novel, Gene starts to understand events as time passes. One particular event is when Gene visits Leper. Gene learns that, Leper has turned crazy. “I didn’t care what I said to him now; it was I I was worried about. For if Leper was a psycho it was the army that had done it to him, and I and all of us were on the brink of the army.”(144) Gene realizes that it wasn’t he who turned Leper crazy, but it was the army, and him and Brinker were about to enlist. Gene understands and realizes the horrors that are really out there in the universe. It transforms Gene by letting Gene understand the horrors and the reality of things that are happening.
By the end of the book, the main character, Gene, has transformed into a wise individual. He changed from a clueless individual to a wise individual. At the very end of the novel he learns that Finny has learned that Gene pushed him out of the tree. He knows of this after Leper tells of the incident at the trial. At the trial, Brinker sets it up during the night. All the boys come, and they discuss the incident.